Judith, my wife, recently showed me a two-paneled cartoon. The first scene features a ferocious T. rex dinosaur attacking a village with the caption “Mom doing Christmas Preparations.” The next panel shows an enthusiastic, loving, and welcoming Barney-like dinosaur with the heading “Mom when the guests arrive.”
We chuckled in recognition. Our December “home” used to be like the opening of Dickens’ The Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times ….” Our twelfth month was stuffed with Christmas preparations, shopping, and events stacked on an already packed daily, weekly, monthly schedule. And we’re supposed to be planning for the New Year. Ho, ho, ho, ’twas the season of crazy-making.
Once I learned the BUSY acronym of Burdened Under Satan’s Yoke, I recognized “busy” was my misplaced go-to “badge of sacrifice and duty” used to convey my sense of contribution, worth, and importance. It meant my services and I were in such strong demand that you should think more highly of me. It was BS — Bad Semantics.
Avoid being BUSY! Reflecting on your responsibilities, what’s off- and on-purpose? Joy is possible. It comes down to clarifying priorities, addressing underlying assumptions, and reining in expectations. It’s true at work and at home.
Basically, check your mental health and well-being. When you’re trending toward irritable and anxious, stop and reflect on what you could do differently. Decide which tasks give you delight; do them. Identify which chores you hate doing; delegate or discontinue those items. All the responsibilities in between decide to do, delegate, or discard. Err on the side of giving yourself margin for the realities of Murphy’s Law — all that can go wrong will go wrong at the worst time.
Allow your 2-word purpose to return you to calm reflection. This settling of your spirit offers deep connection to the true you, perspective on priorities, and quieting of the heart and mind. In short, you’ll make better decisions. And this method works any time or season of the year in any circumstance.
Responsibilities come with being contributing members of a family and society. Embrace them as signs of your growth and development. Failure, however, to periodically reflect on what’s best for your family, business, and you will crush you like an eggshell under a roller. Focusing on what matters most is the pathway to the Promise of the Christmas message: Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All.